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Ezbez

New monitor, older computer - is it worth it?

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My current computer was alright when I got it two years ago (1 gb RAM, GeForce 6200, 3.0ghz P4). It shows its age, but I'm not about to get a new one, and probably won't upgrade. However, I am thinking of getting a new monitor. I currently have a small, CRT monitor. I think it's about 16", but I haven't measured it. My desk is a bit small, and it's so deep that it basically takes up the whole thing. I was considering getting a decent, new LCD monitor, but I have one problem. Since my computer ain't so great, I can't run games (or much else) much higher than 1024 x 768. I've heard that LCD monitors don't work well on non-native resolutions. If this is true, I'll have to choose between bad-looking (worse than usual, that is :D) low resolution or a resolution that I simply can't run. Neither of those sounds very appealing to me, so I'm hesitant to get an LCD. I would like the extra space the LCD gives me, and I wouldn't mind a larger screen, possibly widescreen. So my question comes down to; does this 'non-native resolution looks bad problem' exist? If so, are the benefits of a new monitor worth that problem and the cost? Thanks in advanced.

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I have two 17" TFTs having 1280x1024 each. That's a lot of space when doing work (programming for instance) and also works nice when running a game (since only one display is used then).

Maybe dual-head is also an option for you ?

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Most affordable non widescreen LCDs nowadays run at 1280x1024 native, which is a 5:4 aspect ratio. The widescreen ones run at 16:10 ratio, though I forget the exact pixel size. If you run them at a 4:3 ratio, it looks absolutely hideous. It's not tolerable. So as you can imagine, that adds a bit of stress on the graphics card for games.

Your call.

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I've been running Farcry at 1280x1024 on a computer with a Geforce 3.

If you can run games at 1024*768 I'm very sure that you can run them at 1280*1024 too.

Get a 1280x1024 LCD (17" or 19") and run your games in 1280x1024. I'm sure it'll be great. And you can use the monitor later too.

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Hehe, well I have to play Oblivion in 800 x 600 to get 15 fps. But I care more about other (older) games and programming anyways. Dual monitors isn't really an option due to space and money.

And a semi-related question; how can a monitor have 16.2 million colors? 24 bit color is 16.7 million, but many monitors list 16.2 million.

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For the color question, it may be because the LCD in question can't actually show that many distinct shades (an LCD works by in effect having 3 tinted windows for each pixel with a constant light source. To change shade, the window is opened or closed like an iris [specifically current is applied to a crystal to make it twist or untwist]. The number of unique states the crystal can be accurately twisted to defines the color range, while things like how fast it twists define response time and how far it can twist define contrast) There are plenty of LCDs (mostly used in portable electronics) where the range is much smaller then 16 million colors. On the other hand, it could just be normal marketing, where the people writing descriptions don't know anything (i.e. like your best buy flyer which will also include many technical mistakes and impossible specifications).

For the resolution question, yes, LCDs are not good at their native resolution. It's not aspect ratio per say, it's the fact that LCDs use fixed pixels. To display anything other then their native resolution, they need to either add black bars, or stretch the image. Stretching the image blurs pixels (unless the smaller resolution is an exact multiple, like 800x600 ->1600x1200, some pixels will be partial), removing sharpness (reading stretched text may hurt your eyes).

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You can get a 1280x800 LCD if you want, that's not too much to ask for from an old graphics card.

However, if you're going to get a new monitor, and you're stuck on an AGP motherboard, you really should consider upgrading your graphics card for under $100. It's worth it for anyone playing games!

Then you can get a 1600x1200, or 1920x1200 screen.

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Thanks for the tips, I'll definately look into a GeForce 7600, that's a very reasonable price.

[Edited by - Ezbez on April 28, 2007 11:43:04 AM]

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I too play Oblivion on 800x600, and I can't say that it looks worse on my 19" LCD than it did on my 19" CRT. If I change the resolution to something other than 1280x1024 I notice that text becomes slightly blured, but it's not bad at all. So unless you're extremely picky I don't think you need to worry about the resolution when playing games, but that's just in my experience.

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Quote:
Original post by Perost
I too play Oblivion on 800x600, and I can't say that it looks worse on my 19" LCD than it did on my 19" CRT. If I change the resolution to something other than 1280x1024 I notice that text becomes slightly blured, but it's not bad at all. So unless you're extremely picky I don't think you need to worry about the resolution when playing games, but that's just in my experience.


I agree with the scaling not being much of a problem, but if you have a widescreen then the aspect ratio is more of a problem in my opinion. My laptop monitor is native 1440x900, which is 16:10. The lowest 16:10 resolution I can use is 1280x800. I rarely need to use lower than that, but for the cases which I do, I prefer to maintain aspect ratio (i.e black bars on the sides) rather than stretch the image. It works pretty well for me, but others may find it irritating.

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